The whole country is fighting against the danger of the spread of Corona. People are panic stricken. Workers, mainly of unorganized sectors, have lost their jobs, even earned wages. Starvation and destitution stares at them. Migrant workers are stranded far, far away from their native places. Those who succeeded in their dash homes braving hunger, exhaustion and police beatings, are kept even in their home states away from their native places without food, quarantining all by themselves. Peasants and agricultural labourers are without work, afraid of both Corona and Police. Harvesting is to begin and the shortage of labour and equipment stares at them. The future prospect of hunger is adding to the hunger pangs. Tribals at many places have collected their produce. With govt. agencies locked away, they are being crudely exploited by private purchasers.
The lockdown has affected the different classes differently. Some are taking long overdue holidays viewing the landscape from their balconies. But there have to be balconies or verandahs for that. The rich, powerful and famous are all over the screens enumerating the benefits of staying home; if only they could say where to rest. Many of them will gain weight. Poor have been driven inside, removed from sight. Physical distancing is being practiced by the well to do, and social distancing of the rich from the poor.
Corona has comfortably slipped into caste, communal, gender cleavages in the society. Minorities are being blamed for the spread. Lower castes are the next big spreaders, poor as they are. Women get their traditional bigger share of deprivation besides daily domestic harassment increased by lock down.
People are being ground down by govt. handling of Corona. There is panic and grief all around. Preparations are lacking even now for fighting Corona. Corporate media has got another excuse for showering praises on the Govt. asking the people to bear and fear.
What then are RSS-BJP celebrating? The Prime Minister called for 9 minutes of diya lighting at 9 pm on April 5th. Diya lighting, part of Diwali, generally denotes celebration. RSS-BJP mobilized their supporters for this. Diya lighting was followed by firecrackers, another token of celebration.
RSS-BJP though have many reasons to celebrate. They have forcibly removed all protests against CAA-NRC-NPR (Cinana). They have tried to use Corona as a vaccine against Cinana. Not only minorities, workers and peasants too have been shown their place- mercilessly beaten all for their own good, thanks to Corona.
Corona epidemic has also come in handy to gloss over the mess that RSS-BJP had made of the economy. Growing anger of workers and peasants and increasing expressions of this anger, increasing army of unemployed and concerns of businesses at the slowing demand all have been brushed under the carpet. A bigger line has been drawn to make the earlier one look smaller without even lifting a finger. Media is instilling a fear of life and making all noise of protest among the people disappear and the rest is done by the police and security forces. Lest the social media become the medium of expression, Govt. is whipping in Disaster Management Act in addition to Epidemic Diseases Act to control all dissent.
Corona is being used for justifying fortification of the police state. Judiciary has also found a new justification for its kowtowing to the Govt.
Celebration season is on. RSS-BJP are gloating over their success in the first round.
But Diwali is only one day in the year. The reality is beginning to dawn. Hungry are coming out. Health care workers are demanding equipment to fight the epidemic. People cannot be silenced for long. Life is asserting itself. Govt. will open factories and allow agriculture but the real question is what it will do about measures necessary to ward off epidemic and to mitigate the sufferings.
RSS-BJP Govt. has not yet addressed the question of allowing the unoccupied buildings and spare spaces of the rich to be made available to the poor. The unity of the country stops at that. Though Govt. has temporarily stopped selling privatization of health care, but that is only as it is nor profitable.
Rich have transmitted Corona to the poor. Let their wealth also be distributed. To begin with half of the wealth of Corporate be taken over to meet the needs of the people. Let them give their ‘fair’ share and not pittances.
When these uncomfortable questions are raised by the people, when people demand accountability, the celebratory mood will disappear. Only people’s consciousness can bring that day close. Only people can stop these sadistic celebrations.
April 7, 2020